Skip to comments.Pope Francis raises abortion, religious liberty in candid meeting with Obama
Posted on 03/27/2014 4:24:18 PM PDT by NYer
Rome Correspondent Hilary White contributed to this report.
ROME, March 27, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In their first face-to-face meeting, Pope Francis reiterated the Catholic Church's concerns with President Barack Obama's policies on abortion, conscience rights, and freedom of religion.
A source familiar with the talks told LifeSiteNews that the Vatican press release on the meeting was "remarkably forthright" in emphasizing the fact that the pope raised these issues with the president.
According to the press release, the pope launched a discussion with the American president about the proper role of church and state, raising “questions of particular relevance for the [Catholic] Church in that country.” These included “the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life, and conscientious objection,” according to the Vatican.
The 52-minute-long meeting marked Obama's first audience with Pope Francis. The divide between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church has deepened since his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, with broiling arguments over the president's promotion of abortion-on-demand, same-sex “marriage,” and the HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate.
The USCCB has spoken out against the mandate that employers provide female employees with contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs with no co-pay. Pope Francis today restated their concerns that the ObamaCare policy forced Catholics to violate their deeply held religious beliefs.
The policy even impacts American nuns. The Little Sisters of the Poor do not automatically qualify for the Affordable Care Act's constricted religious exemption because they serve non-Catholic poor, and refuse to sign a waiver implying their approval of contraceptive use. “We believe the government's attempt to coerce us in this manner is wrong, and that it violates our religious liberty,” the Sisters said last year.
The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the mandate's constitutionality.
Pope Francis presented President Obama with a copy of his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel"), which criticizes some public figures who attempt to marginalize the pro-life message by presenting it as “ideological, obscurantist, and conservative.”
“This defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right,” Pope Francis wrote. “It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development.”
The president said he may look at it. “You know, I actually will probably read this when I'm in the Oval Office,” Obama responded, “when I am deeply frustrated, and I am sure it will give me strength and will calm me down.”
The pope and President Obama pledged their mutual support to eradicating human trafficking around the world.
However, the Obama administration cut all federal grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' efforts to combat human trafficking in 2011, because the group refuses to refer pregnant women for abortions.
Some observers had expected this morning's meeting inside the Vatican to sidestep contentious moral issues in favor of greater economic intervention. Before their meeting, Obama told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that Pope Francis gave “great moral authority” to his call to address income inequality between “those at the very top and the income of the typical family.”
“It isn't just an economic issue,” the president said. “It's a moral issue.”
However, it is not clear from the Vatican that the issue of economic redistribution was raised.“We hope the takeaway from today’s meeting is not a photo-op used to promote the President’s partisan domestic agenda,” Maureen Ferguson, senior policy adviser for The Catholic Association, said. “Today’s meeting comes at a time when the Obama administration is battling the Catholic Church in the U.S. over her right to be Catholic – fighting all the way to the Supreme Court to force people of faith, including nuns who care for the poor, to violate Church teaching or face massive government fines.”
International tensions were addressed, as both the pope and President Obama are deeply involved in the current tensions between Russia, Crimea, and Ukraine.
Vatican officials described the meeting as “cordial.” President Obama walked past the ceremonial Swiss Guard and shook Pope Francis' hand, bowing slightly.
For his part, Obama presented Pope Francis with a collection of seeds from the White House garden in a chest made from the first Catholic cathedral in the United States, after hearing that the pope enjoys gardening.
“His Holiness is probably the only person who has to put up with more protocol than me,” Obama joked, referring to the two men's respective meetings with foreign dignitaries and attendant security details.
Also present at the meeting were Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's secretary for relations with states.
The previous day, Pope Francis met with another American delegation led by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, an outspoken critic of the HHS mandate and proponent of appropriate Christian engagement with the political sphere.
Obama prolly got offended and yelled something like, “Hey, now you listen here. We’ve got TV preachers in ‘Merica, too. You don’t tell me what to do.”
Oh.... our President.
The stench of rotting aborted humans clings to Obama. The Vatican will be burning incense for a long time.
Obama should’ve burst spontaneously into flames in the Holy Fathers presence. The president must’ve been wearing a nomex business suit.
Obama pretending to be moral for the elections.
He looks like the kid in the principal’s office.
The president said he may look at it. You know, I actually will probably read this when I'm in the Oval Office, Obama responded, when I am deeply frustrated, and I am sure it will give me strength and will calm me down.
Ten bucks says he's already burned it in a trashcan.
Obama would NEVER have let his lapdog US Media release that picture.
“I actually will probably read this...”
Boy, there’s a statement of commitment.
That’s what I was thinking. All of the pictures show him uncomfortable and tense. Like his bottom is clenching.
Today while driving home, I heard FOX NEWS report that Obama announced that he and Pope Francis discussed and focused on — Poverty and Income Inequality. He never mentioned any discussion of abortion in his statement to the press at all.
And you believe the media? They were not in the room during the closed door session, nor are they privy to anyone else who was. The media will always back O, rather than seek and publish the truth.
-— He looks like the kid in the principals office -—
That’s the first thing I thought.
Slaughter of christians by muzzies he supports? I THOUGHT SO!
Nobody knows what they ACTUALLY discussed behind closed doors.
Boy, is he in for a surprise.
Barrack “God Bless Planned Parenthood” Obama, while still pushing homosexual marriage, would still get 50% of the Catholic Vote in a third term presidential run as long as he spouts off the usual economic and social justice rhetoric.
I see these Democrat Catholics every Sunday at Mass and they ignore abortion and homosexual marriage issues while claiming Obama along with the rest of the Democrat Party ‘care’ for the downtrodden.
My Rosary beeds are nearly worn down from prayer for these lost soul CINO’s......
Obama probably reminded Francis he was merely the Pope and be careful when talking to the man child god...”The Won”...
One really has to wonder what the Pope is thinking as he stands there staring at Jughead... knowing the things this guy supports.
Personally, I’d have a very time keeping a civil tongue in my head if I were in the Pope’s position.
patience and long suffering is how the pope hot the job,,,,
speaking of Job,....it would NEED the Patience of Job to spend a new york second with that obama cretin.
The Pope, then, is a better man than I’ll ever be.
Couldn’t be more of a contrast.
Pious humility versus megalomaniac narcissism...
I was shocked that Obama head didn’t spin around I was waiting for that LOL!
I really sorry for Pope Francis this best of US we give LOL!
You might very well think that, Mr. President. I couldnt possibly comment.
I wish that he had told him that he was going to take the American Catholic vote to the republican party.
Maybe it’s the lighting, but ol’ Jughead really looks aged i in that picture.
I guess wrecking a country, ruining an economy, and pissing on half of the country’s population will do that every time...
Ping for another picture of Barry Benghazi gettin’ schooled ...
That’s because the Pope has friend in high places...
Unlike... nah, never mind... :^)
Obama’s Best Friend and personal trainer is due to enter the lake of FIRE any day now!
This was what I was expecting to happen.
God bless Pope Francis.
Go Pope Go!
The Chicago gay community porn smuggling thug is seeking the Pope to look the other way in Chicago and DC while blackmailing the church on pedophile scandals.
Scum of the earth is Obama.
Obama is a secretive looney who is not impressing the Popenin terms of mischief, I assume. Liberals are completely insane to think their evil is sustainable because they think everyone is cynical like them and cannot manage faults and sins.
He speaks like a teenager.
Why would he say when “ I’m in the Oval Office” It’s like he feels like he still has to impress people that his office is the Oval Office. He’s really insecure underneath all his lying and bravado. By the way, I can’t believe the Mooch would miss the publicity of meeting the Pope.
Legitimacy issues wear away at the conscience of a usurper. The guilt is keeping him up at night. Even the chair he sits in reminds him his behind isn't worthy of warming it.
I would love to hear what the Pope and all those other people in the room say about BO. Probably pissed they have to do a photo op with him to help his poll numbers.
Obama has a problem in that he probably is not the first “hot shot” piece of crap the Pope or the Catholics had to deal with. Heck, the Albanians are right next door with their violent prostitution ring.
But communist madness is communist madness, they seek no opposition and genocide. There is a limit to this sort of smuggling but they do not think so, heck, it is their utopia.
I’m just thinking that unless I’ve greatly misjudged where he stands, a lot of that document is not going to calm him down.
Trying to convert the pope to the latest cool muslim sin. Yep. Nothing new there from idiots.
The Anti-Christ meets the Vicar of Christ.
He sure does look tense. Gee, his bottom’s clenching...where’s Reggie when you need him?